I’m sure that you’ve heard the whole “your body is a temple” metaphor before but how much do your really believe it? Do you treat your body like the temple that it is or do you treat it more like a landfill?
Here’s a newsflash—every single thing that we do in our lifetime requires the involvement of our body. No matter how hard we may want to try—we can’t escape our body so long as we are alive on this planet. It makes sense then, that in order to live our most FabYOUlous life, we must take care of our temple.
If you are health conscious at all, you no doubt spend at least some time thinking about the things that go into your body. We all know that good nutrition is a vital component of FabYOUlousness. How much time however, do you spend thinking about the stuff that comes out of your body? Chances are that (unless you are an eleven year old boy) you don’t give much thought to that crap (haha! Pardon the pun!). This is a shame though because in order for our bodies to function at their highest level, nutrition and detoxification need to be working together in harmony. We take in what we need (air, food, water), use it to fuel our bodies and then expel the excess.
Activities as simple as breathing and sweating (and yes—peeing and pooping for those of you who are on the same maturity level as an eleven year old boy—I often fall into this category myself so no judgement here) are automatic processes that our bodies use to get rid of waste and toxins. However; in a modern society that is filled with pesticides, chemicals, processed “foods” and pollution; the toxic load on our systems is higher than it has ever been. This is why it makes sense for us to work to keep as many toxins out of our bodies as possible. In a previous post, we discussed ways to detoxifying your spirit, but now it is time to try the following suggestions for simple ways of detoxing your body…
1.) Just add water. This is one of the absolute easiest ways to help your body get rid of toxins. Keep your body hydrated throughout the day by chugging good ol’ H2O. To maximize the health benefits, swap the ice water for room temperature water or hot water with lemon. If you’re like me and need a little variety, herbal teas, fresh veggie juices and kombucha all count toward our daily water intake. According to the Institute of Medicine, the average woman needs nine cups of water per day while the average man needs thirteen cups. Click here for some FabYOUlous infused water recipes that will help add a variety to your water regiment.
2.) Fill up on fiber. Your colon will thank you if you do your part to help keep it “clean” by eating high fiber foods such as apples, pears, sweet potatoes, blackberries, peas, dried beans, brown rice, figs, prunes, ground flaxseed, whole rye and almonds. These and other high-fiber foods will help to keep your system “regular” by acting as “intestinal brooms” that help to “sweep” out waste. Beware though—if you’re not used to eating fiber-rich foods, you might want to add them to your diet gradually so that your system will have time to adapt to the change.
3.) Purify the air you breathe. Start switching your household cleaning products to those made with natural ingredients and look for paints that are low on volatile organic compounds (like the Sherwin Williams Harmony line). Also try to rid your home of plastic and vinyl products that can emit potentially carcinogenic gases. If you enjoy burning candles, choose those that are made of beeswax, soy or palm oil with cotton wicks. You can also clean your air by introducing plants into your living space (click here for a great indoor succulent garden tutorial). The plants that are best for purifying the air include bamboo, English Ivy, Gerbera Daisies, Chinese Evergreen, Mother-in-Law’s Tongue and Peace Lily.
4.) Breathe Deep. Now that you’ve taken some steps to
purify your air, it’s time to start breathing it in. Just a few deep, slow breaths can increase your oxygen intake and aid in detoxification. Even though breathing is a natural response that happens automatically, deep breathing is something that requires a bit more intentionality. Here is a brief “how to” for yoga’s three-part breath technique: 1.) inhale through your nose and expand your abdomen 2.) expand your diaphragm next and then 3.) exhale and continue with the next round. As you start to get a feel for this technique, try to make your exhale a bit longer than your inhale. Imagine yourself pushing all of the stale air out of your lungs as you prepare to take in more, fresh, invigorating, energizing oxygen.
5.) Stick out your tongue—and scrape Okay—I know that this sounds weird, but trust me—you should be doing it. Ever notice how gross your mouth feels in the morning when you first wake up and how terrible that morning breath can be? Well, there’s a reason for that. The reason is that overnight, metabolic debris (that is meant to leave your body) builds up on your tongue. In Ayurvedic medicine (Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word that means “the science of life” and Ayurvedic medicine is an ancient, holistic healing system that originated in India and is based upon the belief that health and wellness depend upon a delicate balance between the mind, body and spirit), this “tongue fuzz” is known as ama and removing it is a simple yet incredibly effective way to rid your body of toxins. All you need is a simple tongue scraper that can be purchased in the dental health area of most drugstores for less than five dollars (though honestly, using a spoon works too). Then, just use the device to scrape your tongue first thing in the morning before you eat or drink anything. Adding this simple step to your daily hygiene routine will prevent this toxic “tongue fuzz” from being reabsorbed back into your system.
6.) Reduce your alcohol & caffeine intake. I have several friends who happen to be physicians and guess what—they all drink an occasional glass of wine and start their days off with a cup (or two) of coffee. I found this interesting since I’ve heard that both alcohol and caffeine can be detrimental to our bodies. So—not wanting to unnecessarily miss out on alcohol and caffeine myself, I asked these friends what gives? As it turns out-they all subscribe to the “everything in moderation” philosophy. The thing is—we often misinterpret what exactly “moderation” means. According to my physician friends (and information that I found online), moderate alcohol consumption means one glass of wine or one beer or one shot of whiskey (NOT one glass of wine and one beer and one shot of whiskey!) for women daily and roughly twice that amount for men. In Ayurvedic teachings, alcohol is considered as tamasic (meaning a food that is thought to promote pessimism, laziness, doubt and criminal tendencies) and leads to heaviness and lethargy. For this reason it is beneficial to reduce our intake if we are looking to detoxify our body.
As far as caffeine is concerned, it is best to keep consumption to a minimum because caffeine has been linked to stress, anxiety, heart disease, fibromyalgia, insomnia and a variety of other non-FabYOUlous problems. Unfortunately, if caffeine is a regular staple in your life, cutting back can lead to some ugly withdrawal headaches. To help mitigate this problem, try stepping down your consumption gradually by switching from coffee to green tea to non-caffeinated herbal teas over a period of weeks. It is also best if you can forego the artificial sweeteners. Personally, I like adding honey to my tea but Agave nectar is another option as it is a light, liquid sweetener that comes from a cactus plant and is low on the glycemic index.
7.) Indulge in a massage. We all know how wonderful a good massage can feel, but the benefits stretch beyond just the relaxation aspects. Massage is a valuable tool for boosting immunity and it improves our internal detoxification process by stimulating blood circulation and the flow of lymphatic fluid in the body. If regular massages seem like an expensive indulgence, look for massage therapy schools in your area—they often provide professional level massage services at a fraction of the cost.
8.) Sweat it out. When we sweat (perspire, glow…whatever you want to call it) we are expelling toxins from our bodies. In fact, whenever my husband feels a cold coming on, he intentionally spends more time in his gym’s sauna in an effort to “sweat it out” (and incidentally—he rarely ends up getting a full-blown cold). Another way to increase our sweat output obviously involves vigorous exercise (which also benefits our cardiovascular system as well as our muscle health) but if you already spend a fair amount of time exercising, you can add the hydrotherapeutic technique to help boost your perspiration output. To do this, simply alternate five minutes in a steamy shower with thirty seconds of cold water and repeat this cycle three times; then, get under your warm bed covers for thirty minutes.
9.) Eat organically as often as possible. It’s no secret that a majority of our food has been injected, sprayed or filled with pesticides, hormones, fillers and all manner of toxic ick. To lighten the toxic load on your body, try to be conscientious as you select the food that goes into your system. If you eat animal products, look for those that are organic because pesticide residues concentrate and magnify in animal tissue. As for your fruits and vegetables, it is especially important to choose organic when shopping for those produce items that tend to be the most heavily sprayed: peaches, celery, broccoli, leafy greens, apples, grapes, peanuts, berries and cucumbers. Unfortunately, organic food items often tend to cost more than inorganic, but frequenting farmer’s markets, joining food co-ops or growing your own produce are ways to help keep those costs down.
10.) Try a fast. This suggestion certainly isn’t for everyone and you should definitely consult with your doctor before exploring this option. If your doctor gives the okay however; juice fasting is a time-honored detoxification therapy that allows the body to use the energy that it normally devotes to digestion and use it instead on detoxification.
A juice fast consists of consuming three to five glasses of freshly extracted vegetable and fruit juice daily and drinking water and caffeine-free herbal teas at will. Some juice combinations that are popular among fasters include apple/celery, tomato/arugula/lemon, apple/kale/ginger and carrot/spinach. If however; you choose to fast on fruit juice alone, dilute it with pure water to reduce the sugar content. If you choose to explore the fasting option (again, with your doctor’s blessing) be sure to get plenty of rest during your fast because your body will likely not have as much energy as normal.